HEALTH

Navigating the Dog Food Aisles

Ashley Jordan, ChromAnimals Co-Founder

December 10, 2016

There are so many choices for dog foods now-a-days.  We are way beyond dry versus wet food when it comes to the cuisine varieties for our favorite pooches.  There is everything from grain free to raw food.  You can decide to serve only salmon based diets to a mixture of shredded and dry food in the same bag.  All organic and natural has gone way past human food consumption and has found its way to the pet aisle.  This makes the decision behind what to feed your furbaby all the more confusing.  What are the best options to keep them at their healthiest?

That is a really tough question to answer.  I do have a degree in Animal Sciences and years of experience from my veterinary technician days, but even I didn’t feel adequate in answering that question myself.  So, I went to the best source for nutritional guidance.  I hit up one of my veterinary friends to shed some light into what they think is best.  The surprising advice showed there are no one-size-fits-all answers.

“Pet nutrition can drive me crazy on a daily basis,” admitted Dr. White of Ohio.  She has seen 90 lbs beagles who live on KFC alone to “grain free” addicts who swear by the latest diet craze.  She advises looking at the WHOLE picture versus picking one specific method when choosing dog food.

“If you’re busy with an irregular schedule then raw or homemade diets probably aren’t for you.” These diets need to be consistent, so there is a lot of work involved.  She feels this same thing applies to special order fad diets.   Keep in mind, you could run out of these special foods on a Sunday and are you going to be able to purchase it in a pinch?  Switching foods haphazardly on a dog can lead to digestive issues and intestinal irritation.

Dr. White advises not to knock all grocery store brands either.  “I see 13 year old healthy animals that have been eating the same [grocery store] brands their entire life.”  It’s important to remember that more expensive doesn’t mean better all of the time.  There are some things to take into consideration when choosing a specific food.  If your dog has any digestive or skin issues, the food may be something to change.   However, with that knowledge you must keep in mind that it can take a full 12 weeks on a new diet to see good or bad changes!

She left us with some final thoughts. [As a veterinarian] “I try not to interject unless I’m seeing a concern and think food will help.  The choices are overwhelming and it’s hard to keep up on everything the internet claims.”

The bottom line is to pick a food that works for your lifestyle and your budget, just make sure you do your research.  The internet is full of animal product information; it may not always be accurate.  If you really don’t think you are qualified to make the best decision for your pet, go ahead and speak with your veterinarian.  Share with them any concerns that you may have as far as budget and time constraints.  They should be able to offer a number of different options that are a healthy start for your beloved companion.

Thank you to Dr. White of Ohio for her expertise and for taking the time to speak with me on a very important topic!

Check out these links to find more information on pet diet and nutrition.

 

Dog Food, It’s what’s for dinner.

Photograph  via Pixabay

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